Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021, dir. Jason Reitman)

A struggling family inherits a remote farmhouse formerly belonging to a Ghostbuster. A film of bits, some of them entertaining and fresh. Essentially a straight sequel to the 1984 film, it starts well as an 80s-style Amblin kid-centric comedy-drama, then reprises the original, then trips over fanservice.

Here’s the trailer. another perspective.

Ghostbusters Afterlife (2021, Dir. Jason Reitman)

The estranged family of Egon Spengler return to his home town and uncover a ghostly plan to destroy the world. While fun, this is too reliant on spoon feeding nostalgia and ticking fan check boxes. A good cast keeps you interested, but the film struggles with pacing and coherence at times.

Ghostbusters Afterlife (2021, Dir. Jason Reitman)

Harland Manor (2021, Dir. Steven R. Monroe)

A team of tech savvy Youtubing paranormal investigators experience strange events in an abandoned house/hospital/asylum/insert building here. By the numbers jump scares and derivative. Seen this all before and done better. Yawn.

Harland Manor (2021, Dir. Steven R. Monroe)

Antlers (2021, Dir. Scott Cooper)

Left-field ancestral monster horror, with some nice photography, good performances and icky moments. Let down by a poor script and a pace that doesn’t move quickly or scarily enough when it needs to. Worth watching for the weirdness of it all.

Antlers (2021, Dir. Scott Cooper)

The Matrix Resurrections (2021, Dir. Lana Wachowski)

Mr. Anderson once again suffers reality confusion in this complex sequel. Less bible and message laden than some of the others, this refocuses things with a new deeply meta twist. Though a tad bloated and with little new to say, this still manages to be visually compelling.

Matrix Resurrections (2021, Dir. Lana Wachowski)

The Protégé [AKA The Asset] (2021, dir. Martin Campbell)

An assassin tracks those who killed her mentor. While the script gets bogged down in backstory and complications, there’s a sense of unfussy confidence in the direction, action choreography, editing, and stuntwork that makes this a worthwhile watch. A decent – if to-type – cast helps. Some corners cut in production design don’t help.

Here’s the trailer.

Ron’s Gone Wrong (2021, dir. Sarah Smith & Jean-Philippe Vine, with Octavio E. Rodriguez)

A socially-awkward boy gets a robot companion, except it’s malfunctioning. Generally straightforward (there’s some interesting darker edges and jokes) CG animation E.T. variant, that’s well-made if not really distinctive enough to set it apart from the likes of Big Hero 6 or The Mitchells Vs The Machines.

Here’s the trailer.

Don’t Breathe 2 (2021, dir. Rodo Sayagues)

A blind veteran protects a child from home invaders. Undeniably stylish and well-made horror/thriller sequel, though one with daft plot developments and a grimy aftertaste that takes it into torture porn territory. Nevertheless, director Sayagues is a talent: let’s hope there’s a more balanced script next time out.

Here’s the trailer.

Encanto (2021, dir. Jared Bush & Byron Howard, with Charise Castro Smith)

A Columbian family fractures when their magical powers weaken. Great-looking but derivative animation with too much tickbox Disney stuff, saddled with dull songs. Moments amuse, and the small scale gives focus, but there’s nothing here that Moana or Coco didn’t do ten times better.

Here’s the trailer.

The Suicide Squad (2021, dir. James Gunn)

Convicted DC supervillains are recruited to undertake a covert mission. Splashy flip splattery slapstick action comedy sequel, developing into a Ghostbusters variant. Some poetic moments help, though the crowded cast needs more time to breathe than can be given here.

Here’s the trailer.